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Young Composers' Online Orchestra- In need of woodwinds!!

Hey guys! This is a new ensemble I created a few days ago and we have a serious woodwind deficit as of now... we have three total woodwind players, compared to 7 violins and 14 synths.
I've posted this in a few other MuseScore groups in hopes of attracting a bit more attention to it, and it's worked so far! Here's the rest of the original post.

I'm creating an online  orchestra dedicated to performing the works of young composers and  putting the videos on YouTube. In the process, composers will get  feedback from performers, performers will get more experience playing in  different settings, and both will form connections that will be  extremely useful (hopefully) in the music industry long-term! It's also a  great chance for publicity.
Currently, I'm looking for performers, composers, and editors alike willing to help make this happen.

If you want to join, here's a link to a Discord server dedicated to making this happen! 
https://discord.gg/PxQpBgj
In anticipation of a few questions, here's an FAQ.
How will you coordinate this?
Our  current plan is to have one major piece every two months. Pieces will  be member-submitted and member-selected. Parts, an MP3 of the piece  being performed by synth instruments, and a metronome MP3 will be sent  out. Members will have these two months to work up their part(s) and  record themselves playing in time with the metronome that was sent. All  members will submit their parts to an official email for the orchestra,  which will be made at a later date. Editors will then take over and edit  the tracks together.
It will then be posted to an official YCOO YouTube channel with credits to the composer and performers in the description.

What instruments can join?
Currently,  standard orchestra and wind ensemble instruments. Non-standard  instruments may be accepted, but should not expect a part in every major  piece. Right now, we especially need woodwinds, specifically on flute/picc, saxophone, clarinet, and bassoon. We'd also love more low strings, like string bass and cello. But we won't turn you away if you already play an instrument we have lots of. The more, the merrier!

What kind of music will be played?
Orchestral  music, wind ensemble music, chamber music, solos. We currently plan to  only do original music by young composers but may be open to doing  covers once the group has been established.

Chamber music and solos? How will that work?
While  the major projects will happen every other month, members will be  allowed to arrange small ensembles. Chamber ensembles and solos will be  entirely member-run: members will choose a piece, form a small ensemble,  send out parts on their own, come up with their own deadlines, and edit  the audio and video on their own. Only when the product is complete  will it be sent up to us admins to publish it on the YouTube channel.

Is there an audition required?
No.  However, if you submit a track of low quality, it may not be used. (Low  quality can be defined as: badly out of tune, very bad audio quality,  not with the metronome, or played with a bunch of mistakes.)

Video? Will we have to submit videos of ourselves?
No. Submitting videos of yourself playing is entirely optional.

Do you have to play in every major piece?
Nope. We won't kick you out for inactivity.

If  you have any other questions let me know and I'll do my best to answer!  In case you don't want to scroll back up, here's that link again. 
https://discord.gg/PxQpBgj
Here's a link if you're interested but can't join the Discord so we can still get your information.
https://goo.gl/forms/H1QAmhsrpczM1ZGw2

Wait What?!

I can't believe it! I'm about to hit 50 followers (only need 7 more)! I know that it isn't mush, but it is something right? Tell if you would like to see an original composition, or an arrangement of a song you like. I'm going to take probably 3-5 ideas so choose wisely as I'm putting this discussion in all the groups I'm in.

Saxophone scores and groups

 Welcome to the Saxophone group! Here is some Information for you and links to sax scores and other sax-related groups on MuseScore.  

First of all, this particular group (Saxophone) is kind of “basic” saxophone group, containing discussions and articles about saxophone. To read an article - just scroll down after clicking the "discussions" section. You will recognize an article in "discussions" by the [article] prefix in its title.

You are very welcome to make more posts!  

Then, here are some links to other saxophone-related groups including sets of valuable saxophone scores:  

1) Saxophone ensembles group (quartets,quintets,etc.) - 
https://musescore.com/groups/saxophone-ensembles
2) Jazz Standards Lead Sheets
https://musescore.com/groups/jazz-standards-leadsheets
3) Sax arrangements group - saxophone arrangements of rock/pop music or movies’/games’ soundtracks      
https://musescore.com/groups/sax-arrangements
4) Sax solo transcriptions
https://musescore.com/groups/sax-solo-transcriptions
5) Collection of scores: sax solo or with accompanying instrument - https://musescore.com/groups/saxophone/discuss/5015764

Feel free to create discussions and articles, to add your scores and to comment! 

Guaranteed Feedback on Saxophone Scores

Hey, everyone!

This is Joshua, and I'm a composer and a performer and a new admin for the group Saxophone Ensembles. I just wanna generate some discussion and get some activity for these forums. Alex has done a really great job so far with his helpful information. Now, it's my turn: to do this, I think the best way to start would be a feedback form: post your scores to the group or just post a link in this chat and I'll do my best to give feedback. Arrangements or original compositions, I'd love to look at all of them and give feedback. This is just to raise some awareness for this community and also get activity going. Expect more discussions and whatnot in the near future.

So, if you want any feedback, I'd be happy to give some to your saxophone score. Post to this discussion or just send to me and I'll take a look at it.

Techniques

Can we have a thread where people post all of the different things about how to play woodwinds, starting with the basics of how the sound is produced and how the keys work, and going to various techniques such as fluttertonguing and other things? I think it would be a help for composers who want to write for woodwinds but don't play them (such as myself). I know the basics from Orchestration by Samuel Adler, but it would be nice to have them explained from actual wind players.

Collection of scores: sax solo or with accompanying instrument

This is a collection of scores for sax+accompaniment (sax+piano or sax+guitar) or solo scores, mostly of classical style, provided by ORWELL6 ( https://musescore.com/user/139709 ), checked by me. I also added some scores there. Please feel free to post more scores of this type (post in this group for now and paste the link to it in comments).

The idea is: If we get more shit music of this type, we will create a separate group of classical sax scores, which will contain this set as a part of it.

[article] Breathing

One of the most important, even the most important aspect of saxophone playing technique is producing sound. Well, that’s obvious: after all, music is the sequence of sounds, and if some musician can’t produce full, nice, let’s say “high-quality” sound, then it’s not worth practising anything else - both the performer and the listener won’t like any music such musician could ever play. But the good news are: with “right” breathing and embouchure (position of lips and everything that is in and around your mouth) anyone can produce the sound he or she really happy with. So let’s deal with the first part of it in this overview: breathing. I’ve been playing saxophone for 17 years and would like to share the information on the topic I find extremely useful.

Actually there are three breathing methods that we use during our day-to-day life. Those are: clavicular (colar bone), chest (throatic) and diaphragmatic. In order to get a full-supported sound on saxophone we need to combine all three methods, but the accent should be put on the diaphragmatic breathing, as this one is the most efficient for our goal: wind instrument playing.

So, what is diaphragm? I don’t feel like inventing something new here, but just referring to wikipedia article instead: it is ” a sheet of internal skeletal muscle that … separates the thoracic cavity, containing the heart and lungs, from the abdominal cavity and performs an important function in respiration: as the diaphragm contracts, the volume of the thoracic cavity increases and air is drawn into the lungs.”

The idea is simple: the air flows naturally to the place with less resistance. So all we need is: 1) Exhale as much air as we can, thus making our lungs a low resistance area 2) Inhale expanding our chest cavity as much as we can to get more air (for our future use in playing instrument) - that is done by lowering of the diaphragm. When playing saxophone during exhaling we “support” the air column contracting the stomach muscles, meanwhile preventing the diaphragm to get quickly to the initial “upper” position, That enables us to play long musical phrases with steady tone/sound.
Here are some exercises on the topic.

To feel the diaphragmatic breathing

  • Ex.1 While lying on the floor (or on the bed or couch if your floor is too dirty:) place an average sized book on your abdomen area. Just breath in a regular way and you will notice the rise of the book when you breath in and the fall of it when you breath out. So the whole breathing process consists of expansion during inhaling and contracting on exhaling

  • Ex.2 To feel the diaphragmatic floor extending: bend over, place your hands on the back of the abdomen area and inhale.Then slowly straighten up and try to get the feeling in the abdomen. For more extreme example try panting like you are out of breath while you are bent over.

To practise the diaphragmatic breathing

  • Ex.3
    1. Place your hands on the abdomen or on the back of the abdominal area
    2. Breath in.with your mouth. I visualise it like being a balloon filling with air (under high pressure) by some pump. So the idea is the quick and powerful air flow to your lungs; quick sip of air, kind of “sucking” it through some imaginary straw.
    3. Breath out with a loud whispered sound, something like “ah”. Try to do that as loud as you can and don’t interrupt the sound. In several days you should be able to reach at least 10-15 seconds of sounding this way.

In this exercise feel the muscles in the abdomen squeezing more and more until you run out of breath. Try to exhale all the air you have, think of it as of squeezing out a sponge. At first squeezing is gentle, but when the sponge runs out of water it becomes more tight. And then - back to step 2. Do it several times, from 10 to 20.

Remember: when inhaling don’t raise your shoulders. Of course they will rise( but just a little !) as the chest cavity expands filling with air, but our goal is diaphragmatic breathing, so focus primarily on the expansion in your abdomen area.

Very thorough study of breathing process and its connection with saxophone player I found in David Liebman’s “Developing A Personal Sound” book, also John O’Neil’s “Jazz Method For Saxophone” contains some useful information on the topic. I’ve mentioned only some pieces of information from the books in this article.

Share more thoughts, breathing exercises in comments. I am eager to know your experience on the topic as well.

Lower lip position moving?

It is not discussed too often, but in fact each note fingered on the horn has an “optimal” spot (for lower lip) on the reed. It’s worth covering the edge of the reed with your lower lip for lower notes, whilst uncovering the read is done for higher notes - this allows more of the higher overtones to come out. That is accomplished by lower lip forward and backward movement (not up and down, which results in “biting”): less of the lip’s fleshier area and lip rolling away from the edge of the reed for higher tones (let’s say beginning with higher B - above the staff) and more of the fleshier area and rolling in the direction of the edge of the reed in case of lower tones. You can read more about the lip movement and embouchure in Chapter 6 of David Liebman’s “Developing a personal saxophone sound”

What do you think about this suggestions and what is your experience? I am eager to know how the stuff with lower lip works for you.

[article] The Embouchure

Embouchure is one of the main things affecting the quality and timbre of our sax sound. It includes lips,teeth,jaw tongue as well as almost all the muscles contained in our mouth and face. Embouchure affects both the air stream (finally) coming to your mouth and the characteristics of reed’s vibration. If one has some embouchure faults, it immediately results in unsteady, week and muffled sound and lack of control. Who wants to listen to and to produce that kind of sound ? I bet no one does. So here are a few words about embouchure appropriate for sax playing,

In other words, saxophonists’ embouchure is basically just “how do we hold the mouthpiece in our mouth”. Here is a simple algorithm:

  1. Place the top front teeth on the mouthpiece making sure they are centralized. You can figure the distance between the tip of the mouthpiece and your teeth only by trial and error, as it varies from player to player. Perhaps a good point to start with is about 10 millimeters and then to “find your own place” on the mouthpiece you are comfortable with.

  2. Slightly turn in the lower lip as if you are saying the syllable “v”.

  3. I prefer to obtain the right position of my tongue and lips by imagining that I am pronouncing ö (german o umlaut), as it combines approved and advised by saxophone pedagogues “o” position of lips with “ee” (like in english word “eat”) position of tongue, which makes the air stream (and, consequently, the sound) more focused.

  4. Finger the middle C or B note and blow your horn pronouncing “four” (according to Sonny Rollins) or “vo” (according to Eugene Rousseau) or “vö” (according to me)

But the main thing to keep in mind is that the embouchure should be “natural”. That means firm but relaxed, feeling maybe like putting a popsicle in your mouth; and let’s remember to avoid putting pressure on the reed with your bottom lip.

Playing long tones every day in the beginning of your sax practise session is an indispensable exercise for both our embouchure and breathing.

[article] Tonguing

Most of the sounds played by saxophonists start and end with tonguing, so I want to share with you some exercises which helped me (and, I hope, will help you) to achieve good tonguing technique. Feel free to add your exercises and suggestions as well.

  • Ex.1 Sing the “doo” syllable (pitch is not of importance for the exercise, but don’t change it during the process) repeating it but not interrupting, think of it as singing one long note. But don’t move your lips or jaw. Imagining that you are a ventriloquist really helps to get the right feeling. Notice that your tongue moves straight up and down. That is exactly the way notes are to be tongued on sax

  • Ex.2 Blow some note from the middle range of your horn for 3-5 seconds and then move your tongue up and touch the edge of the read still maintaining air pressure. Then pull the mouthpiece quickly out of your mouth. You should get a rush of air that quickly “escapes” your mouth cavity. If the air stream is weak, then you didn’t manage to keep the pressure behind your tongue. Practise this exercise till you succeed in it, as keeping the pressure even when you don’t play a sound is of much importance for right tonguing

  • Ex.3 Blow again some note from the middle range for 3-5 seconds and then move the tongue up to the read touching it (remember touching somewhere near the edge but not the middle part or the end of the reed) and then immediately down. Keep the speed of tonguing (it’s worth starting from “note tonguing” every 4 seconds). Strive for continuous sound, tonguing should not affect the quality of it.

That exercises I found in John O’Neil’s book long time ago and I felt I benefited from practising them even though I had been already playing saxophone for many years.

When actually playing some music, remember thinking of tonguing like separating long tone into parts (but not making separate sounds, so not splitting in any case) rather than ending every note and beginning another one. The air pressure should be constant and the sound stops immediately when you put your tongue on the read but it continues again immediately when you put it off.

As a warm-up I practise finishing notes both with tongue or without it (maybe adding a small vibrato on the end of the tone for jazz music).

I’ve described the basics of tonguing, but, of course, “in real life” sometimes you need to tongue something stronger and not only “touching the very tip of the read”. In fact different areas of tongue when touching different areas of reed (not only the tip) provide wide range of articulations. See Chapter 5 of “Developing A Personal Saxophone Sound” by David Liebman.

Feedback wanted for a Brass Quartet score

in Brass

Hey,

I was requested a brass quartet arrangement for a Stardew Valley song (the arrangement is here : https://musescore.com/user/5174461/scores/3443856). However, I know close to nothing about theses instruments. I asked the "requester" (is that a word ?) for some feedback but it's been something like a month so I'm not sure I'm gonna get any... I'd still like to finish this arrangement properly so here I am seeking feedback :)

I've already been searching the web for advices but I'm not sure theses replace real experience with the instrument.

Some of my worries / concerns :
Some things may be weird, unplayable, and so on. The song is very rhythmic focused, so I think it's important every player can play his/her part very accurately, or the whole thing will
feel unstable - which is why it's not a good thing if some part are weird to play (some percussions would remove this concern, but it wouldn't be a brass quartet arrangement then)

More precisely :
- if there's not enough time to breath
- if a part isn't in the good range for the instrument (too high / too low / makes thing too difficult)
- if a part is just too quick to be played accurately
- if a part is too tiring for the player
- if a part is assigned to the wrong instrument (another instrument would play the part more easily)

In particular :
- measure 5-9 : not sure whether tuba or trombone has the easiest time for this part. It seems to be more in tuba's range but can definitely be played a bit higher if needed.
- measure 10-17 : same as above for tuba/trombone (for both parts). Also I removed a lot of stuff from the bass line (played by trombone) in order to make it more playable, but maybe that's not enough or is not necessary
- measure 18+ for trumpet : is that even remotely playable for trumpets ? Is it too tiring on the long run ? (i.e. I should switch the trumpets often, or even shorten the whole thing because it repeats a lot in the original song)
- measures 26-33 for tuba : is that too quick ?

Thanks a lot !

Rag Tales album

in Brass

My new album "Rag Tales" is out now. You can find it on Spotify, ITunes, Apple Music, and Google Play among others. I got started right here on Musescore when I was invited to the ragtime players group. Please check it out. I think you will enjoy it. Thank you friends. Just search for " CJ Brandt" or "Rag Tales". Thanks again

Rag Tales album

My new album "Rag Tales" is out now. You can find it on Spotify, ITunes, Apple Music, and Google Play among others. I got started right here on Musescore when I was invited to the ragtime players group. Please check it out. I think you will enjoy it. Thank you friends. Just search for " CJ Brandt" or "Rag Tales". Thanks again

Publishing Offer

in Brass

Mandek Music Publishing is now open for score submission , we are a company specializing in music publication. We aim to flip the script on the usual dealings in the industry and allow artists to fully realize their artistic potential because we nurture rather than curb creativity.

We accept scores in these following formats: Sibelius files, Musescore files, PDF files
and handwritten files favourably in the respective order. If you have it in any other format
please indicate so that our IT team can assist you. (All submissions are done via email)

Interested parties should send a Direct Message or email us at mandekmusicpublishing@musician.org

Redefining Music